TOYS: It’s the announcement we’ve all been waiting for — which toys made it into the National Toy Hall of Fame at The Strong in Rochester, N.Y.?
The class of 2019 has three inductees. Without further ado, here they are: Matchbox Cars, Magic: The Gathering and the coloring book.
The honorees were chosen from a field of 12 finalists that also included Care Bears, Fisher-Price Corn Popper, Jenga, Masters of the Universe, My Little Pony, Nerf Blaster, Risk, smartphone, and top.
Lesney Products debuted Matchbox Cars in England in 1953, and they sped past earlier competitor toy cars by combining high-quality with low prices. The cars appeared in the United States in 1954 and, by 1960, Matchbox sold more than 100 million units annually. They faced stiff competition from Hot Wheels (brought to market by toymaker Mattel in 1968 and inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame in 2011), and launched their own “superfast” line of cars in response. In 1997, Mattel purchased the Matchbox Cars line, uniting them under the same banner as their longtime rival. Matchbox Cars remain a top seller for Mattel.
Wizards of the Coast published Magic: The Gathering in 1993, and the uniquely collectible card game became so successful that the firm could not meet demand at first. The game—which draws on popular fantasy themes—requires both chance and skill to defeat opponents in one-on-one battles, encouraging players to collect new cards and to refine their deck and strategies. It continues to evolve and produce new sets of cards and storylines.
Coloring books appeared in America as an outgrowth of European educational reforms, but McLoughlin Brothers, a New York printing company, is credited as the coloring book’s inventor. Educators now use coloring books to teach such essential and diverse subjects as history, geography, and even geometry. Though often thought of as a children’s activity, more complex coloring books aimed at adults became increasingly popular in the 2000s.
The National Toy Hall of Fame® at The Strong, established in 1998, recognizes toys that have inspired creative play and enjoyed popularity over a sustained period. Each year, the prestigious hall inducts new honorees and showcases both new and historic versions of classic toys beloved by generations.